During the Queen’s Young Leaders Ceremony held at the Buckingham Palace in the UK on June 30, Three (3) talented entrepreneurs Ruth Nabembezi, Joel Baraka and Favourite Driciru received the Queen’s Young Leaders Award joining list of winners from across all Commonwealth countries.

The award includes a programme of meetings, networking opportunities and mentoring sessions, all curated to help the award winners progress as leaders in their home countries and increase their impact on people’s lives.

Before the award ceremony all winners visited 10 Downing Street (UK Prime Minister’s House) and took part in master classes at the BBC World Service and Facebook’s headquarters in the UK.

The award winners were also hosted by the Commonwealth Secretary General. University of Cambridge will be offering workshops to each of the winners while senior executives from leading organisations will inform them about projects which are improving people’s lives in the UK.

Chief Executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, Dr Astrid Bonfield CBE, stated: “The Queen’s Young Leaders of 2017 are doing truly remarkable work within their communities. Their actions are having a positive impact not only on those around them but also by setting in motion positive change that will last for generations to come.

“The residential programme is an opportunity for the 2017 Queen’s Young Leaders to come together for the first time, to foster partnerships and share ideas about how they can work together as a group to improve people’s lives all over the Commonwealth.

“We are delighted that these young people are being recognized for their life-changing work by Her Majesty The Queen and we hope that their time in the UK will inspire and enable them to pursue their work for others on an ever greater scale.”

About Ruth Nabembezi

She’s is committed to raising awareness of the importance of sexual and reproductive health through the innovative use of mobile phone technology. She is the founder of Ask Without Shame, a social enterprise providing a free and anonymous service in which medical experts answer sex education questions via apps, text messages and calls. Most of the questions are posed by teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds. Since its launch in 2015, Ruth and her team have responded to more than 35,000 questions from 20,000 users. The success of its work won Ask Without Shame a grant to set up an information and call centre. This will enable the team to respond to 1,000 users a day, and create a clinic where callers will be able to receive treatment and counselling.

About Joel Baraka

Joel is focused on providing practical ways to address some of the challenges facing young refugees, and encouraging them to engage in education. Joel grew up in the Kyangwali refugee settlement in Uganda, and at the age of 14 set up a sports programme to try to tackle some of the problems within the camp, including gangs, teenage pregnancies and early marriages, all of which led to high school dropout rates. His programme included organising football and volleyball games for boys and girls, followed by post-match discussions on social issues. Despite the programme’s successes, Joel realised many of the refugee students were still performing poorly at school. In response to this, he came up with the idea of creating educational games which would allow children to learn the curriculum through play. Joel is currently developing the games further to try to help solve the problem of poor performance amongst refugee pupils.

About Favourite Driciru

Favourite is supporting young people and women to find employment in Uganda through the provision of micro-credit lending and training in social enterprise. She set up Favourline Financial Solutions in 2014 after discovering that many young people in her community were unable to find jobs after finishing school or university. Two years on, Favourite has been able to help over 400 young people and women launch businesses in areas ranging from agriculture to retail. She now leads a team of five, and also engages in project development and training to help young people create viable business proposals able to attract funding. Favourite would also like to launch a new Keep Girls In School Initiative in the future, to support girls forced to leave school early due to pregnancy to acquire basic technical training from vocational institutions, which they can then use to earn a living.

Queen’s Young Leaders Award

It is an annual award that looks for people aged between 18-29 years from Commonwealth nations and acknowledges them for their leadership potential. The award was established via the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, Comic Relief and the Royal Commonwealth Society in 2014

The complete list of winners is available here